Short- and Long-Term Complications of Intraoperative Benign Ovarian Cyst Spillage: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2021 May;28(5):957-970. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2020.11.025. Epub 2020 Dec 3.


Objective: To review short- and long-term complications associated with intraoperative rupture of benign ovarian cysts.

Data sources: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, BIOSIS, Medline (Ovid), Web of Science,, and Google Scholar were searched using the following terms and their combinations: "spillage," "rupture," "leakage," "ovarian cyst," "teratoma," "dermoid," "operative," "surgery," "outcome."

Methods of study selection: Randomized controlled and observational studies evaluating the operative outcomes of surgical treatment of ovarian cysts with intraoperative spillage compared with those of surgical treatment of ovarian cysts without spillage were included. A systematic review and meta-analysis following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines was performed.

Tabulation, integration, and results: A total of 28 studies were included in the qualitative analysis and 12 in the quantitative analysis. Ovarian cyst diameter was not found to be associated with the risk for spillage (relative risk [RR] 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.33 to 1.82). Intraoperative benign ovarian cyst rupture was not associated with adverse short- and long-term outcomes such as reoperation (RR 1.16; 95% CI, 0.39-3.48), infertility (RR 0.73; 95% CI, 0.15-3.63), transient fever (RR 3.22; 95% CI, 0.83-12.51), and readmission (RR 1.00; 95% CI, 0.33-2.98). However, intraoperative spillage was found to be associated with increased risk for benign recurrence (RR 3.1; 95% CI, 1.05-9.14). A subgroup analysis of the studies that included only dermoid cysts showed an association between intraoperative cyst rupture and postoperative chemical peritonitis (RR 9.36; 95% CI, 1.20-73.28).

Conclusion: Intraoperative ovarian cyst spillage of a benign cyst is associated with limited adverse clinical outcomes. Although the surgical approach (minimally invasive vs open) should not be affected by the concern regarding an intraoperative cyst rupture, maximal efforts should be made to prevent intra-abdominal spillage.

Keywords: Chemical peritonitis; Cyst recurrence; Infertility; Reoperation; Transient fever.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Ovarian Cysts* / surgery
  • Peritonitis*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Teratoma* / surgery